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UN Security Council rebuffs the United States over Iran protests

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Students attend an anti-government protest at Tehran University in Iran on Dec. 30 2017

Iranian officials have blamed a plot by the CIA, Israel and Saudi Arabia for the unrest that convulsed much of the country for five days - part of the increasing tensions playing out between Iran and its neighbors since U.S. President Donald Trump came to power.

Nearly a week of sporadically violent protests involving upwards of 50,000 demonstrators in the Middle Eastern country has seen at least 22 killed, as Tehran authorities accuse the United States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia of tacitly fomenting unrest that began in late December 2017.

Russia's envoy shot back that if the US view holds, the council should have also discussed the 2014 unrest in Ferguson, Mo., over the police shooting of a black teenager or the USA crackdown on the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) says antigovernment protests that it blames on foreign instigators have been "defeated". It was unclear Friday morning whether Haley has that level of support. Speaking before the council, he went further.

The Russian ambassador, Mr Vasily Nebenzya, was more blunt.

"We must be wary of any attempts to exploit this crisis for personal ends, which would have the diametrically opposed outcome to that which is wished", Delattre added.

Alma Konurbayeva, press officer for Kazakhstan, the Security Council president for January, confirmed to CBS News' Pamela Falk that Friday afternoon's meeting - called for by Haley - was on the agenda.

"The real reason for convening today is not protect human rights or promote the interests of the Iranian people, but rather a veiled attempt to continue to undermine the Iranian nuclear agreement", Nebezia stated.

Mr Trump has repeatedly excoriated the deal, which was a signature diplomatic achievement of his predecessor, Mr Barack Obama.

The US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, argued that the Iranian protests - first against and later for authorities in Tehran - could escalate into a full-blown conflict, drawing parallels with Syria.

At the Security Council on Friday, most members insisted that these two issues were separate.

France's Francois Delattre said that although he was "alarmed" by the acts of violence on the streets of Iran, they did not pose an worldwide threat to peace and security and so were not really a matter for the Security Council.

Sweden's representative, Ms Irina Schoulgin Nyoni, concurred: "We have our reservations on the format and timing of this session".

She called on all of her other colleagues in the Security Council to join her in amplifying the message of the Iranian people.

On Wednesday, the US Mission to the United Nations held a cocktail reception for the nine countries that voted against the resolution in the General Assembly, which, aside from Israel, were Guatemala, Honduras, Togo, the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru and Palau.

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